Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Vincent Laforet: Cross-Dissolve

By Ibarionex Perello, Photography By Vincent Laforet Published in Photographer Profiles
Arthur Schopenhauer said, "The task is not so much to see what no one yet has seen, but to think what nobody yet has thought about that which everyone sees." In Vincent Laforet's work we see a photographer who constantly is creating new ways to tell a story with images. Above: The Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters at Bonzai Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii, December 8, 2006. While most photographers choose long telephotos aimed from vantage points ashore or shoot with housed cameras in the water hoping to catch a close-up, Laforet took a decidedly different angle.
Arthur Schopenhauer said, "The task is not so much to see what no one yet has seen, but to think what nobody yet has thought about that which everyone sees." In Vincent Laforet's work we see a photographer who constantly is creating new ways to tell a story with images. Above: The Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters at Bonzai Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii, December 8, 2006. While most photographers choose long telephotos aimed from vantage points ashore or shoot with housed cameras in the water hoping to catch a close-up, Laforet took a decidedly different angle.
A long-exposure photograph of Gustavo Tsuboi and Pradeeban Peter-Paul's table tennis match at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

"When I was first asked to do this book, I felt it was very premature to do a book on my career, especially since I was in my early 30s," he says. "I felt like the Monty Python character saying, 'I'm not dead yet!' But as I transitioned from a photojournalist into a filmmaker, I realized that it would be good to write down a lot of these ideas and thoughts and stories before I forgot them. I've really come to cherish this book because it's allowed me a perspective on my life."

The book provides a frank discussion of the technical and logistical challenges in making these photographs, as well as the personal obstacles of ego and fear that can often hamper a photographer's ability to perform the job consistently and reliably. Being witness to such moments is no doubt thrilling, but it comes with a deep sense of responsibility. It's an idea that was never lost to Laforet.

"As a photojournalist, you try to do your job with honor and you try to stay as objective as you can," he says. "You come to the table with the purest of intentions. But, ultimately, you're on your own as a journalist; you're no different than the people you're covering, and not only can you become endangered as easy and as quickly as your subject, but also you can, in fact, become a burden to others by becoming yet another victim, especially if you're irresponsible."

Fresh Challenges

The stories that Laforet strives to tell now don't revolve around spot news, sports events or feature stories, but he believes it's his years of experience telling such stories that have prepared him in his new role as filmmaker and director.

It's the spirit of collaboration that helps inspire Laforet with each new project.
"I've never found anything that I've ever done in my life or my career which is as intellectually interesting and stimulating as directing," Laforet explains. "I can honestly say that regardless of the level of success I ever obtain, I would rather be making movies because I love the challenge of working with other talented individuals and creating something where the sum is greater than its individual parts."

It's the spirit of collaboration that helps inspire Laforet with each new project. Though his portfolio of images was born from maintaining complete control over the technical aspects of his camera, it's his willingness to let others do their jobs, including making the shot, that's making him a better storyteller.
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